Coalition Increases Pressure to Ban Pokies in Tasmanian Pubs and Clubs
The Community Voice on Pokies Reform has sent an open letter to Premier Will Hodgman calling for more action to be taken over the pokies issue in the state, particularly pushing for poker machines to be removed from pubs and clubs altogether.
The coalition is made up of thirty three organisations, community groups and local councils and aims to make Tasmanians’ voices heard by the Joint Select Committee on Gambling in Tasmania.
The latest push by the committee comes after Australian gambling statistics have revealed that Tasmanians lost $114 million on poker machines in pubs and clubs in the 2014-15 financial year, an increase from the $111 million lost the year before. This was more than the $90 million lost to pokies in casinos.
“We continue to see more money than we would like to see poured into poker machines in this state,” said Meg Webb, spokeswoman for the coalition.
“That money represented in those statistics is coming from the pockets of people who can least afford to lose it and communities who can least afford to lose it.”
“Poker machines belong in a casino environment; in that environment we can put in place appropriate consumer protection and harm minimisation measures. They don’t belong in the community.”
The online letter to Premier Hodgman has already received more than 800 signatures.
Treasurer Peter Gutwein assured that the government is committed to reforming gambling and specifically pokies operation in Tasmania. He said the government will be reviewing the tax rate on gambling and on poker machines, as well as assessing the Community Support Levy.
The Upper House amendments to the terms of reference for the Joint Select Committee on Gaming are still to be debated by the Lower House.
March 30, 2017